Have you ever accidentally seen something you were never supposed to see? And it really wasn’t that extraordinary but you still can’t unsee it?
That happened to me this morning on my way into the office.
Picture it: You’re on my way into the office this morning when you’re passed by another car. You notice it happens to be the car of an acquaintance, so you look over to wave. But then…
He’s picking his nose…*cringe*
And not just an awkward “nose scratch” situation. Dude is digging for gold. That’s what happened this morning.
Here were my immediate reactions:
- Gross — and don’t even get me started on the grossness of finger food that followed…
- What other gross extracurricular does this person do? It can’t be limited to nasal mining.
- How often does he wash his hands? I’m thinking not enough
- This person doesn’t seem to be that aware of what’s going on around him.
But here are the other realities of this “unseeable” event:
- Does it really impact anything job related? Depends on the job, but probably not.
- Is it really any of my business what gross habits someone else has? Not really.
- Will I think twice about shaking hands with him now? You bet.
Poor guy was engaging in a private activity in the privacy of his own car. Obviously it wasn’t quite as private as he thought he was but, my immediate reaction clearly was broader than just a cringe. And it really isn’t that big a deal. Broadening the implications of individual events is completely normal and human, but in the case of this professional acquaintance — it’s probably not job related, it’s none of my business, so I shouldn’t let it impact my opinion of the guy. But if you’ve ever noticed a colleague or friend’s car on the highway and then observed that person throw a full blown road rage tantrum or drive like a complete jerk, then you know what I’m talking about. They have no idea you saw the bad behavior… but you still saw it and it can’t be unseen.
Unless you are in the privacy of your own home with the windows and doors shut, AND you’re not on the internet, there’s at least a reasonable chance in this increasingly small world that you will run into someone you’re familiar with, whether or not you’re aware of it. As much as we’d like to think that we can really let loose and be ourselves when we leave the office — you still need to remember that you’re not quite home alone yet.
You never know who you’re going to run into or who might see you when you’re out and about so think twice before picking your nose or cutting someone off in traffic…
If you’ve ever had one of these “I can’t unsee that thing my coworker did” moments, I’d love to hear about it. Share it in the comments.